Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


  Contact : 336-992-5664

All posts by Monte Long

COVID-19

Support Your Local Businesses Right Now

COVID-19Even when we’re told to maintain social distance, we need each other more than ever.

As the news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, it’s essential to follow public health guidance from experts such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your local government to keep your distance and slow the spread. (Read more about how ERIE and our local agents are maintaining our commitment to serving you in our message on COVID-19.)

Beyond the health impacts, though, there’s also a community impact. Right now, things might feel lonely or uncertain – even scary. And that’s especially true for small business owners – in particular, those that have been instructed to close their doors.

From your favorite lunch spot to that funky art gallery, our local small businesses are a beloved part of what make our hometowns feel like home. We rely on them daily – and now, they need us. If you’ve got a little extra to spare in these uncertain times, here’s how you can help out your local small businesses.

HOW TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS

  1. Buy local whenever you can. When it comes time to stock up on pantry staples, think about supporting that mom-and-pop shop first. The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) has fascinating data about how locally owned businesses generate larger “local economic multipliers.” Your support might make a bigger impact than you think.
  2. Order takeout or delivery from your favorite local restaurants. Extra perk: No dishes.
  3. Buy gift cards or gift certificates. Many places accept contact-free payment online or over the phone. Stock up now and treat yourself to a night on the town when this all blows over. For places you rely on regularly – for example, your hair salon – buy an extra service or two now if you can, since you know for sure you’ll use it in the months ahead.
  4. Buy gifts for friends or family. Is it crazy to think about starting your holiday shopping in the spring? You’ll thank yourself later – and, hey, it’s something to pass the time! (Read our list of tips for safe online holiday shopping.)
  5. Leave a generous tip. With lower customer volume, servers and bartenders might be making less than usual. If you have it to spare, throw a few extra dollars their way. (And don’t forget to tip the delivery driver!)
  6. Buy merch or other gear. We get it – you can only order so much takeout, especially if you’re not getting your usual number of steps in. Think about buying a coffee mug, T-shirt or ball cap to show some local love. Buying merch can especially help touring musicians, who might have had to cancel shows in the interest of public health.
  7. Tune in to live streams. With bars, restaurants, and other gathering spaces closed, gig workers like musicians might be out of work. Show your support with a like and comment on your favorite local band’s livestream. (And if they have a digital tip jar, send a few dollars there just like you would at the corner bar.)
  8. Take an online class. Personal trainers, yoga instructors, and fitness pros might be out of work, too – and we all know it’s important to keep moving when you’re stuck at home. See who’s streaming and consider throwing them a digital tip as a thank-you. (Laundry piling up? Read our list of 7 must-know hacks to clean fitness gear.)
  9. Buy some cool art. Websites like Etsy make it easy to search by location and find artists in your community – and you might be going stir-crazy to freshen up your space, anyhow. Some local artists might be doing “draw-alongs” or other livestreams. Add them to the list of folks who would appreciate a digital tip, too. (Keeping the kiddos occupied with art projects of their own? Read our list of 5 stylish ways to display children’s artwork.)
  10. Leave a positive review. If you’re short on cash, boosting a local place’s reputation is worth its weight in gold. While you’re at home, type up a couple good comments for your favorite spots to leave on social media or search engines. (Get other ideas to pass the time in our list of 21 ways to beat cabin fever.)
  11. Check with your local chamber of commerce or small business association. Local groups might be planning events, discounts, or promotions unique to your area. Get connected and see what’s happening in your neighborhood.
  12. Pay it forward. If you’re fortunate to have some steady cash flow right now, remember that others might not. Consider treating the next person in line behind you – or making a donation to a charity that helps the less fortunate in your community.
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Prevent Frozen Pipes

How To Prevent Frozen Pipes

Frozen PipesFrigid winter temperatures can cause pipes to freeze – or even burst. Do you know how to tell if pipes are frozen? We’ve pulled together tips to help prevent frozen pipes and a list of suggestions for you to follow if they do freeze.

Pro tip: Know ahead of time how your homeowners insurance can kick in to help repair damage from a frozen and burst water pipe. Not sure if you’re covered? Talk to a local ERIE agent to find out.

SYMPTOMS OF FROZEN PIPES

One of the earliest signs of a frozen pipe is when no water comes out of your faucet when you turn it on. If you notice that, head first to the basement and check to see that the water is still turned on and that you don’t have a leak. Once you’ve confirmed these two things, continue your inspection to make sure one of your pipes has not burst. If your search reveals that your pipes are frozen but none have ruptured, you have two choices:

  • Call a plumber to help thaw your frozen pipes. Most times, this is a better idea if you don’t think you can safely thaw the pipes yourself, you don’t know where the frozen pipes are or you can’t access the frozen area.
  • Attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself. Be aware this option can be dangerous if not done correctly.

HOW TO FIX FROZEN PIPES

If you’re not an experienced DIY-er, it’s safer to defer this one to a professional. However, there are fast fixes you can try if you’re experienced with home maintenance work. If you attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep your faucet open. Water and steam will be created during the thawing process, and your pipes need an opening to discharge this. Keeping the faucet open also allows for moving water to run through the pipe, which will expedite the thawing process.
  • Apply heat to the section of the pipe that is frozen. This can be done by wrapping an electronic heating pad around the pipe, heating the area with a hair dryer or both. If you lack either of these items, using towels soaked in hot water will help as well.  Remember, this is a temporary fix and the heating pad should not be left unattended to prevent a fire.
  • Know what not to do. Never use a blowtorch, propane or kerosene heaters, a charcoal stove or any other open flame device to thaw your frozen pipes. That presents a severe fire hazard. You should also avoid using a space heater unless you are sure the area is clear of any flammable material. Again, never leave the space heater unattended.
  • Continue applying heat until water flow returns to normal. Once you have successfully thawed the pipe, turn on other faucets in your home to check for any more frozen water pipes.
  • Take swift action if the frozen pipes are located inside an exterior wall. This is a serious situation when you should call a professional contractor, as repairs may involve cutting a hole in the wall toward the inside of the house to expose those pipes to warmer air.

HOW TO PREVENT FROZEN PIPES

While we can’t control the weather, there are things we can do to prevent pipes from freezing. To prevent pipes from freezing and causing major damage, follow these steps:

  • Drain water from pipes that are likely to freeze. This includes your swimming pool and sprinkler water supply lines.
  • Disconnect any hoses from the outside of your home, drain the hoses and store them in the garage. Make sure to close the indoor valves supplying these outdoor access points.
  • Insulate the area around vents and light fixtures. This helps prevent heat from escaping into the attic.
  • Seal any wall cracks. Be sure to pay careful attention to the areas around utility service lines.
  • Open kitchen cabinets. This allows the warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Keep the garage doors closed to protect water lines.
  • Allow your faucets to drip cold water on the coldest days. The movement will make it harder for the water to freeze.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Never let it fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you leave your home.
  • Ensure you have proper seals on all doors and windows.
  • Place a 60-watt bulb in areas where you’re concerned about pipes freezing. Make sure there are no combustible materials near the bulb.

PROTECTION FROM FROZEN WATER PIPES

Frozen water pipes and the damage they can cause are a reality for thousands of people each year. That’s especially the case when you are at below freezing temperatures for an extended period of time.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety says a burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage. That’s because the damage can be extensive.

“We see about 2,000 claims per day during an average January winter,” says Chris Zimmer, senior vice president of claims for Erie Insurance. “A number of them are due to frozen water pipes.”

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Small Business Week

Small Business Week – May 3-9

Small Business WeekEach year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes the powerful contributions of America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs with National Small Business Week.

This year’s National Small Business Week runs from May 3-9, 2020, and will include plenty of opportunities for small businesses of all kinds to share the message.

IDEAS TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS WEEK

Need some inspiration? Here are five ways your business can participate in Small Business Week.

  1. Celebrate your customers. Every time someone walks through your doors, they’re making a choice. The relationship between a small business and its customers is something special—and something big companies just can’t match. Show your appreciation (while also driving sales) through a customer appreciation event or Small Business Week sale. Spread the word on social media and build buzz with surprise giveaways for fans and followers.
  2. Team up with other small businesses. Remind the local community how small businesses have helped shape their town by partnering with other business owners to celebrate and promote the week. Hand out coupons for the store up the street and have them do the same for you. Get creative finding ways to encourage locals to visit one small business after another.
  3. Think big with local professional organizations. Find out what your local Chamber of Commerce or similar organizations are up to for this year’s Small Business Week and see how you can get involved. Not much happening? Get involved yourself and help get something going this year. Find out what they’ve done in the past and see how you can help make this year even better.
  4. Celebrate SBA Award Winners. During Small Business Week, the SBA will be announcing the winners of several awards, including Small Business Person of the Year, which is awarded for each of the 50 states, plus D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Take the opportunity to celebrate your favorites as they’re announced and take to social media to share the stories of the small businesses that inspire you.
  5. Say hello to your local ERIE agent. Your local ERIE agent knows small business because they are a small business. If you haven’t had your coverage reviewed recently, now is a great time to speak with an independent professional who understands exactly where you’re coming from. Check in to talk coverage (or just say hi).

Talk to your local ERIE agent to make sure you have the right business insurance you need this Small Business Week and for many Small Business Weeks to come. Reach out today – from one small business to another.

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Medicare Supplement Insurance

Is a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Worth It?

Medicare Supplement InsuranceWhen you sign up for Medicare Parts A and B, you also have the option to apply for a Medicare Supplement insurance plan.

Medicare Supplement plan, sometimes called “Medigap,” is a private insurance policy that can help pay for some of the health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover. But is this coverage really necessary? And more importantly — is it worth it?

WHY CHOOSE A MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN?

To answer those questions, it may help to understand why you’d want to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan in the first place. Here are some important reasons:

  • It helps pay the portion of approved expenses not covered by Medicare. This can include out-of-pocket expenses such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.
  • There are a variety of plans to meet your needs. Erie Family Life offers four supplemental insurance plans designed to fit your life and your budget.
  • With no network, you can choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Original Medicare.
  • Coverage is guaranteed to renew each year (unless you make untrue statements, commit fraud, or fail to pay premiums).

IS IT WORTH IT?

As with any insurance policy, the answer to whether the cost is “worth it” will largely depend on your personal financial situation.

But health care and out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare participants are on the rise. If you’re concerned about your ability to pay unforeseen health care costs, you’ll probably find that the peace of mind a Medicare Supplement plan can provide is worth the cost.

And if you’re already an ERIE customer, you may be eligible to get lower premiums with discounts, including:

  • Household Discount: Available if someone else in your home has an ERIE Medicare Supplement plan. The availability and amount of this discount  varies from state to state. Ask your agent for details.
  • Multi-policy Discount: Available when the Medicare Supplement plan covers an ERIE auto, home or life policyholder. Not available in all states.

TALK TO AN ERIE AGENT

When it comes to reviewing and choosing a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, the decisions can be daunting. But you don’t need to be an expert because we’re here to help. Contact your ERIE agent or find an agent in your neighborhood for your free Medicare Supplement guide.

Erie Family Life and our agents can help you select the best supplemental plan for your life and your budget. And we’ll be here when you need us, ready to answer your questions. That’s our promise of service.

ERIE® Medicare Supplement insurance products and services are provided by Erie Family Life Insurance Company.  Go to erieinsurance.com for company licensure information.

The policy has exclusions, limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of the coverage, contact your ERIE agent or refer to the government guide Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People With Medicare.

Eligibility for insurance coverage will be determined at the time of application based on applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

ERIE Medicare Supplement insurance is not available in the District of Columbia, New York and Wisconsin.  Life insurance not available in New York.

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Anti-Discrimination Laws

7 Anti-Discrimination Laws Business Owners Should Know

Anti-Discrimination LawsFair and equal treatment isn’t just the right thing to do… it’s often the law.

Whether you’re hiring for a new position, planning a promotion or letting an employee go, it’s important to be aware of anti-discrimination laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Why? Because if you’re accused of discrimination or harassment, you could potentially face a long and costly legal battle to resolve it.

These laws also protect your employees from any retaliation if they report a situation where they experienced or witnessed discrimination.

Related: 5 Reasons Employees Might Sue (And How To Keep Your Workplace Fair to Prevent It)

As a business owner, it’s important to understand the laws that could lead to a discrimination claim. Need a refresher? Here’s a quick overview of protected classifications at the federal level. (Note: This is not legal advice – for specific guidance pertaining to your business, always consult a licensed lawyer with small business expertise.)

  1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII): This established that employers can’t discriminate against people because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The law also requires employers to reasonably accommodate applicants’ and employees’ sincerely held religious practices.
  2. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act: This law amended Title VII to make it illegal to discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
  3. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA): This law prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of sex and makes it illegal to pay different wages to men and women if they perform equal work in the same workplace.
  4. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA): This law protects people who are 40 or older from discrimination on the basis  of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
  5. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA): This law makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the private sector and in state and local governments. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.
  6. Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991: Among other things, this law amends Title VII and the ADA to permit jury trials and compensatory and punitive damage awards in intentional discrimination cases.
  7. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA): This law makes it illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. Genetic information includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about any disease, disorder or condition of an individual’s family members (i.e. an individual’s family medical history).

These laws also make it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. Remember: Local or state laws might get more specific than these federal laws. Be sure to familiarize yourself with any laws unique to your area, and consult a lawyer for specific legal advice pertaining to your business.

EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LIABILITY COVERAGE CAN HELP

Even if you do everything you can to be proactive and fair in your business, you still could be faced with a lawsuit accusing you of discrimination. Even if the accusations aren’t true, a lawsuit could leave you stuck with hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills.

Good news: There’s time to think ahead and protect yourself.

Talk to your local ERIE agent about adding Employment Practices Liability (EPL) coverage* to your business insurance policy. This coverage may help you in the instance someone brings a lawsuit against your business for wrongful acts, such as discrimination.

Learn more about what’s included in EPL coverage or talk to your local ERIE agent for a customized quote.

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Fact or Fiction? Debunking Deer Collisions

Debunking Deer Collisions – Fact or Fiction

Watching deer in their natural habitat can be an enjoyable, peaceful experience. But encountering one on a roadway? That’s a different story.

If it’s happened to you… you’re not alone. More than 1.5 million drivers are involved in deer collisions each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, causing nearly $1 billion in vehicle damage. (Learn how auto insurance can help you if you hit a deer.)

We’ve already shared tips on how toavoid hitting a deer if one jumps in front of your car. But what about those common bits of folklore that everyone seems to have heard about deer collisions? Is there any truth to those?

Below are six common myths you may have heard… along with some facts to back them up.

  • Myth: Deer are more active at sunrise and sunset.Status: True. While deer can—and do—cross the road at all hours of the day, dusk and dawn are their peak hours of activity. Deer are “crepuscular” animals. That’s a fancy way of saying they move the most during twilight. So if you’re driving as the sun is rising or coming home from work at dusk… be especially careful.
  • Myth: You’re more likely to hit a deer in the fall. Status: True. Nearly half of all deer/vehicle collisions happen between October and December. Not coincidentally, deer mating season and peak hunting days also fall between these months. As deer are running from hunters or looking for a mate… odds are they’ll cross a road somewhere in between.Related:Top 4 Fall Driving Hazards (And How to Handle Them)
  • Myth: Deer whistles can prevent collisions.Status: False. Deer whistles attach to your vehicle and are said to emit a frequency that alerts deer of your presence and send them running away. Despite anecdotal evidence – we all probably know someone who swears by their deer whistle! – no credible study has proven them to be effective. One research study at the University of Georgia found that no matter how loud or high-pitched the whistle, the sound isn’t enough to alter the deer’s behavior. Tried-and-tested technology like crash avoidance features might give you more (or… less?) bang for your buck.
  • Myth: Hitting a deer isn’t that dangerous.Status: False.  Nobody wants to face the repair costs of a deer collision. But in many instances, these crashes cause more than just inconvenience. In 2016, the IIHS recorded 189 deaths from collisions with animals. It’s important to note that the most serious injuries occur when a vehicle leaves the roadway—so know when to swerve, and when to stay in your lane.Related:When is a car considered totaled… and what happens when it is?
  • Myth: More deer are present at “deer crossing” signs.Status: True. If you encounter a deer crossing sign, it’s there for a reason.  Signs are installed in areas with high deer populations and a history of deer collisions. Additional factors that can lead to crashes, such as road conditions and visibility, also inform where deer crossing signs are placed. (And before anyone asks: The signs, of course, are for people to read… not the deer.)
  • Myth: If I hit a deer, I can take home the meat.Status: It depends. If you have a taste for venison, you may be tempted to make the best of an unfortunate situation by taking the unlucky animal home with you. But first, check with the authorities – it’s usually the body that regulates hunting in your state, such as the Game Commission or the Fish and Wildlife Division. (Here’s a helpful list, organized by state.) In some states you’re free to take the animal, but not before filing a police report or applying for a special permit or tag. In other states, it’s downright illegal.

Does my auto insurance cover hitting a deer?

Deer-vehicle collisions are covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance, which is an optional coverage you can choose to add on. (Learn more about understanding your auto policy.) An insurance professional like a local Erie Insurance agent can help you customize an auto insurance package that fits your needs and budget.

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